cinema

Film review: The Many Saints of Newark

Before iconic mobster drama The Sopranos altered the landscape of television forever, the writer David Chase, whilst waiting for the show to be picked up, actually considered developing the pilot into a feature to pursue his dream of becoming a film director. Thankfully, HBO eventually greenlit the series and the rest is history. Over twenty years later, the show creator has revisited the New Jersey mob for prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. Directed by Alan Taylor, who worked regularly on the series, the plot follows gangster Dickie Moltisanti, a soldier of ‘Johnny Boy’ Soprano (Jon Bernthal) within the DiMeo crime family. Set against the backdrop of the 1967 race riots, tensions are running high between Dickie and his former street enforcer Harold (Leslie Odom Jr.), leading to a brutal feud that would divide the communities in the city.

Continue reading “Film review: The Many Saints of Newark”
cinema

Film review: The Nest

Writer and director Sean Durkin made an impact with his acclaimed cult thriller debut Martha Marcy May Marlene, and remarkably, a decade has gone by since. His long overdue sophomore effort is psychological relationship drama The Nest, which explores the gradual decline of a middle-class marriage.

Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) is a smooth-talking trader who has left his lowly London roots behind, now living the American dream in New York with wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their children. Eager to grasp his next big opportunity at the height of Thatcherism, he convinces his family to move with him across the pond to an English countryside manor, but his motivations soon become unclear.

Continue reading “Film review: The Nest”
cinema · EIFF21

Film review: Annette

The artistic style of French critic turned director Leos Carax has divided audiences for a while, the most notable example being his 2012 fantasy effort Holy Motors which was hailed a masterpiece by some but left others bewildered by the acclaim. His latest piece is romantic musical drama Annette, marking his English-language debut and with a screenplay penned by musicians Ron and Russell Mael, the idiosyncratic brothers behind the band Sparks. The bizarre plot follows comedian Henry (Adam Driver) and opera singer Ann (Marion Cotillard) as they begin a very public courtship. However, when they marry and have their daughter, the eponymous Annette, their relationship soon hits the rocks.

Continue reading “Film review: Annette”
cinema · EIFF21

Film review: The Night House

Of all the genres of cinema, horror arguably contains the most trademarks and tropes, whether it’s basement-based jump scares or a hapless prey running from an attacker in the woods, only to inevitably trip and fall. In his latest effort, director David Bruckner subverts the expectations of the haunted house movie whilst playfully pandering to cliché. 

Continue reading “Film review: The Night House”
cinema

Film review: Censor

Writer and director Prano Bailey-Bond plunges into the wacky world of video nasties for her feature debut Censor. Penned with her regular co-writer Anthony Fletcher, the psychological horror centres around Enid (Niamh Algar), a reticent film censor who spots something in a movie which triggers dark memories from her childhood. The shocking discovery prompts her to dig deeper into the works of controversial filmmaker Frederick North (Adrian Schiller) and his creepy producer Doug (Michael Smiley) as she becomes increasingly obsessed with the mystery surrounding her younger sister’s strange disappearance.

Continue reading “Film review: Censor”
cinema

Film review: Zola

It’s the norm for screenplays to be adapted from novels, plays, short stories, and other mediums, but writer and director Janicza Bravo has broken new ground by developing her latest picture from a series of tweets. The 148-tweet thread in question was posted in 2015 by Aziah “Zola” King and went viral, starting with now meme-famous line ‘Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense’. If you haven’t already read the now-deleted chain of events, the black comedy plot follows the titular Zola (Taylour Paige) who works as a waitress and part-time stripper. One day, she serves sex worker Stefani (Riley Keough) who invites her on a wild weekend of ‘dancing’. A little reluctantly and rather naively, she takes her up on the offer, joining her, her gormless boyfriend Derrek (Nicholas Braun), and her apparent roommate who goes only by the name X (Colman Domingo) on a tempestuous road trip to Tampa Bay, Florida.

Continue reading “Film review: Zola”